I currently live in Amsterdam, where I’m (slowly) learning to speak Dutch and navigate bike lanes.
I love sharing discoveries about my newly adopted home with a worldwide English-speaking audience. My writing about Amsterdam has appeared in Time Out, the G Adventures blog, Ensemble Vacations publications, and Make Change.
For Preferred Travel magazine, I interviewed Amsterdam locals Kor Hoebe and Tessel de Heij about their favourite ways to spend a weekend in the city. You might not be able to follow their suggestions now, but there are some great tips for next summer.
When you think of Dutch food, do you picture a raw herring or a big wedge of Gouda cheese? You should absolutely try these classics on your visit to Amsterdam, but don’t miss the chance to dive deeper into the city’s food culture with these can’t-miss local dining experiences…
You’ve seen it in the news. Tourists outnumbering locals in Venice. Anti-tourist protests and graffiti in Barcelona. As overtourism becomes an increasing concern for governments, travellers and residents of high-tourism areas, the travel industry must be part of the solution…
When we think of exotic escapes, we tend to think of fragrant spices and tropical air. But the truth is, you can find something exotic in every corner of the world, no matter the temperature. Here are 10 exotic experiences you may have never considered.
Fish For A Living Dinosaur In Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia
B.C.’s Fraser River is home to more than 40,000 sturgeon – the largest freshwater fish in North America, with a history dating back 200 million years…
First things first: If you want coffee or a light meal in Amsterdam, a coffeeshop is not what you’re looking for. (Despite the name, those serve cannabis, not caffeine.) You want a koffiehuis or café. You’ll have your pick of spaces from classic to modern, and from understated to grand. No matter which style you choose, keep in mind that Amsterdam’s centuries-old café and restaurant culture is meant to be savoured – so settle in with a good book or one of the board games you’ll almost certainly find for guests to use.
Try ordering a koffie verkeerd – a ‘wrong coffee’ that’s the local latte equivalent – or a fresh mint or ginger tea. There are no free refills in this town, but at the very best cafés in Amsterdam your hot drink of choice may well come with a small cookie, and you’re welcome to linger as long as you like. And frankly, with those canalside views, we couldn’t think of anything better.
If you’re only here for a short stay but want to catch the best of Amsterdam’s art scene, head straight for Museumplein. The city’s largest square is home to four museums showcasing more Dutch Masters than you can probably handle – plus a healthy dose of modern and contemporary art.
If you’ve got more time, however, you’ll appreciate the chance to discover art across all the city’s coolest neighbourhoods, from Russian treasures to movie posters to digital deep dives into the city’s past. Many of the best Amsterdam gallery and museum buildings are as fascinating as the art they contain, whether centuries old or cutting-edge examples of contemporary design. Where else can you catch a video art installation in a 15th-century church, then hop on a ferry to a film museum that looks like it belongs in a Bond movie?
Visitors to Amsterdam have been exploring its thriving bar ‘scene’ since the 1600s, when sailors dropped by for one last shot of jenever before heading out to sea. Some of the bars they frequented are still around, serving the local juniper-based spirit in tulip-shaped glasses so full you’ll need to lower your head to the bar to take your first sip.
But there’s an ultra-cool, ultra-modern side to some of the best bars in Amsterdam, too. Upmarket lounges, world-class cocktail bars and cutting-edge craft breweries have transformed the Dutch capital’s drinks offering in recent years. And in summer, nothing beats sitting out on the terraces, where tourists and locals alike while away impossibly long evenings over biertjes (little beers) and bitterballen (a classic Dutch deep-fried bar snack).
It’s no secret that Amsterdam has an over-tourism problem. Dam Square is thick with tourists and pickpockets, and the Red Light District (properly known as De Wallen) has become an adult Disneyland where stag parties run wild.
But all is not lost for visitors to Amsterdam. In the city’s outlying neighborhoods, there’s plenty to experience away from the central crowds…